by Carrinicole

I hold everything in my shoulders. Stress, anxiety, shyness, shame, confidence, invisibility, power stance.

When I don’t want to be noticed, they slump down, positioning my eyes to the sidewalk. Avoiding unwanted attention – a catcall, the only woman on the street — fading into my surroundings.

They will move into formation when needed. Shoulders packed, chest puffed, head erect. Chin up. I’m somebody. I’m meant to be here.

Stress inches them towards my ears. A brace for impact. They seize up, so painful that I roll out of bed like a log off the truck. Sometimes I can’t turn my head, shifting my entire upper body to check my blind spot.

I’ve got the gadgets to alleviate shoulder pain: Tempurpedic pillow, Theragun massager, a funky plastic massager from Japan. They only fix the temporary discomfort. Until I truly release what I’m holding, do they even matter?

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